Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle, with modern polymer stock
Foreign SVD clones and look-alikes: top to bottom Al Kadesih rifle (Iraq), Type 85 rifle (China) and FPK rifle (Romania). Note that only two former rifles aretrue clones of SVD; the latter one, FPK in fact is a modified Kalashnikov AK rifle restyled to look like SVD and chambered for 7,62x54R.
|Operation||gas operated, short stroke, rotatingbolt; semi-automatic|
|Length (with stock folded), mm||1225||1135 (875)||1135 (875)|
|Barrel Length, mm||620||565||565|
|Weight, w/o ammunityion and scope, kg||3,9||4,5||5,3|
|Magazine capacity, rounds||10|
Dragunov SVD sniper rifle wasnot esigned as a "standard" sniper rifle in its Western meaning of the term. In fact, main role ofthe SVD rifle in Soviet / Russian Army is to extend effective range of fire of every infantry squad up to about 600-800 meters and to provide special fire support. SVD is a lightweight and highly reliable rifle, cabable of rapid and accurate semi-automatic fire.
Dragunov SVD sniper rifle is based on Soviet army requirements issued in 1958.It was tested agains several rivals during official trials, and won. In 1963 the new SVD (Snaiperskaya Vintovka Dragunova, or Dragunov Sniper Rifle) was accepted by Soviet Military. SVD can use any kind of standard 7.62x54R ammo, but primary round is specially developed 7N1 sniper-grade cartridge with steel-core bullet. Every infantry squad in the Russian (Soviet) army had one man armed with SVD rifle. It is also widely used by various Special Forces in Russia and abroad, as well as by specialized police SWAT-type units.
It must be noted that several countries produced SVD copies or look-alikes. Ofthose, the "true" clones (rifles that have similar internal design) are Iraqui Al Kadesih rifle and Chinese Type 85 (in 7,62x54R) and NDM-86 (in 7,62×51 NATO). Others, such as Romanian Romak FPK or Yugoslavian Zastava M76, are only look-alikes as their internal design is differentand usually based on Kalsshnikov AK assault rifle. Russia also produces a civilan version of the SVD, known as "Tigr" (Tiger), in 7,62x54R and 7,62×51 (.308 Win). This rifle usually has shorter barrel, although it is available in several different versions. Older hunting version of the SVD, the "Medved" (Bear) is no longer produced and is quite scarce.
Changes in tactical rquirements brought up several modified versions of the venerable Dragunov sniper rifle. First came the SVDS folding-stock sniper rifle. Designed for Airborne and other specialised troops, SVDS features shorter barrel and side-folding shoulder stock.
Later on, a Modified SVDM sniper rifle came into existence. Based on the SVDS, it features thicker and heavier barrel which delivers better accuracy, improved ergonomics, adjustable side-folding shoulder stock, and, last but not least, the integrated Picatinny rail pinned to the redesigned top cover. This allows use of modern day and night optics. Standard day-time optics for SVDM is a variable power 1P88-4 (1П88-4) telescope sight. SVDM rifle also can be used with detachable bipod, and, for special operations, with quick-detachable sound suppressor. Iron sights are redesigned, with simplified rear sight and new front sight located above the gas block.
Dragunov sniper rifle (SVD) is a gas-operated, semi-automatic weapon. It uses short-stroke gas piston located above the barrel, and gas chamber has a two-position manual gas regulator. Barrel is locked by rotating bolt with three lugs. Receiver is machined from steel block. The safety is somewhat reminiscent in its appearance tothat of Kalashnikov AK assault rifle, although internal design of the trigger unit is different, and there's no provisions for full automatic fire. Trigger unit is assembled on a separate removable base that also incorporates a trigger guard. The second, smaller lever, located on the right side of receiver behind the safety, is a receiver cover catch, which is used to disassemble the gun. Standard furniture includes a skeletonized wooden butt and a removable wooden handguard. Late production models feature polymer handguards and polymer skeletonized butt. The short SVDS rifle is fitted withseparate pistol grip, made of plastic, and a side-folding metallicbutt. All SVD type rifles are eqquipped with adjustable ironsights as a back-up measure. SVD and SVDS rifles have proprietary side rail mount on the receiver, which will accept telescopic or IR sights on quick-detachable mounts. Standard telescope sight for SVD and SVDS is the 4X fixed magnification PSO-1 with range-finding reticle.